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Steroid Scandal

August 1, 2005

"My body's aching, my feelings are numb
From the bitersweet memory that's tangled in you"
-Blue Merle "Bittersweet Memory"

Today at work, as I was leaving to take a check to the bank for Bubba, I passed by my friends Rad and Luis, who work in payroll for Certified HR Services. They broke the news to me about Rafael Palmeiro testing positive for steroids.

It's interesting that it happened not too long after Palmeiro achieved his 3,000th major league hit. One of the few 3,000 hit/500 HR guys, Palmeiro is known for both his power and his ability to get hits, both over a sustained period of time.

Rafael Palmeiro in Congress
This image will live in infamy.

What is especially embarrassing for Palmeiro is that, before the 2005 season, he testified in front of Congress that he had never taken steroids, actually pointing to emphasize his statement. Oops.

Until this point, the only people busted for juicing up had been several dozen minor leaguers and a handful of obscure major league players. But for Palmeiro, a likely first ballot Hall of Famer before the failed test, to "piss hot", changes everything.

There are still some guys who appear to have been eating some suspicious spinach (with the neon sign for steroids with the facial structure changes, i.e. Barry Bonds, who conveniently is sitting out all of the 2005 season), and the issue doesn't seem to have gone away, as MLB had hoped it would.

People demonized Jose Conseco for his book that squealed on other players for taking steroids. And while outing others is a pretty low thing to do, by the same token if you look at all of the premature deaths in pro wrestling associated to steroid use, and then the death of Ken Caminiti (mix of steroid use and recreational cocaine use, which isn't exactly a healthy combo), that's not a path that baseball wanted to go down, I assure you. When I watch the 1992 Royal Rumble and say "Hmm, he passed away... so did he... so did he," it's a very morbid thing.

Now I'm not one to advocate government intervention into what people voluntarily put into their bodies, but when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs that give people an edge (like steroids), and also puts them at a much higher risk for passing away before the age of 50... I can see why baseball is getting serious about it. It's something that needs to happen.

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